My dear Ann,
I know by this time you are quite anxious to hear from me -- had a very loansom [sic] & fatiguing trip. Slept none at all on Wednesday night which caused my eye to pain me some the next day and it is still weak but not painful. I was the only passenger after leaving Lynchburg a few miles, for a great part of the way. The weakness of my eyes, together with a desire to let you know about my boarding have caused some delay in affording to you & myself the pleasure of this communication.
I remained at the Washington where I first put up until Saturday evening when I fell in company with my old friend Col. Bland who gave me an invitation to take part of his room in a boarding house kept by a Mr. Smith. Mr. Cobbs had also made provision for me but I was better pleased with Col. Bland's boarding house & room & it would also have occasioned Mr. Cobbs some inconvenience to have taken another room in the house without which we could not have been in the same room. So I am situated here for the present week & if I like as well as I now do, shall remain here. Mr. C's boarding house & mine are not far apart & both quite near the Capitol. We rent the room at $12 per week which will be $6 each which I think is very reasonable.
I heard Mr. Plummer preach this morning. It was a highly interesting discourse. He gave in the name of his congregation, a general invitation to all strangers & specially to the members of the Legislature to take any seats in the church that they might prefer which invitation I shall certainly embrace & I hope to my advantage as it is a great matter to any one, to be privileged to hear such a preacher.
Your friends in Lynchburg were well with the exception of Mrs. D. Sanders [Saunders?] who was complaining a good deal but I hoped she would soon be better. I mentioned the sugar to Mr. Bell he said he would embrace the first chance of sending it up & also some cotton, that he then had none & did not know of any in Town but would send it up as soon as procured.
Mr. W & Mary were at the Dr.'s & were well. Mary [-- --?] which I wish you to say to her Ma. If she had been sick at all it had entirely passed away.
O my Dear Ann how differently do I fell to what I did this time last year when absent from my family. Then they were all & all well, but now the reverse. How is your health[?] I am anxious to hear from you. Is poor Jenny dead or alive or better[?]
It will give me such infinite joy [to] hear that your health is improving; but if it is not the case, let it be told keep nothing back to please me, for, if you are getting worse let me know & I will immediately resign my seat & return to my family.
Kiss all our dear children for me & say to them I will write to them in a more particular manner in my next, to be good to you & all others & to learn their books and in so doing they will give devoted absent father the greatest pleasure their powers are now caple [capable] of.
My best respects to all my friends. Tell your pa that all ranks here as well Whigs as administration men are much split up & divided as to Rives being the next senator. Tell Mrs. Campbell to let me here [hear] how he is coming on.
Adieu my dear Ann write immediately
Th. P. Mitchell
[Thomas P. Mitchell (1787-1861)
Ann Dandridge Saunders Mitchell (1800-1862)
Washington Hotel = 9th Street, near the Capitol, Richmond
$12 in 1839 = about $300 in 2016
Children = including John Saunders Mitchell (1827-1915)
Emiline Rosalie Mitchell (1832-1859)
Your pa = David Saunders (1761-1845)
Rives = William Cabell Rives (1793-1868)]
Original manuscript in the Mitchell Family Papers, 1818-1853, Virginia Historical Society. This is my rough transcription.
Many thanks to William Myers for sending copies of letters from the Mitchell papers, and also to Mary Davy and Sally Young for their assistance.